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Determining the Best Location for a PV System

This post will help you to determine the best location for a photovoltaic (PV) system. After you have sized your PV system based upon the calculated the power requirements, you will have to select a location that has maximum sun exposure and limited shading throughout the year. PV arrays can be...

How to Estimate Electricity Requirements

When you receive your energy bill each month, you may not understand exactly how the total amount has been calculated. Every device or appliance in your household contributes to the total sum of the bill. To figure out which appliances and devices are using the most energy, you can estimate the...

Battery Energy Storage for the PV System

Batteries store and produce energy as needed. In PV systems, they capture surplus energy generated by your PV system to allow you to store energy for use later in the day. Like technologies such as fuel cells, a battery converts chemical energy to electrical energy. Rechargeable batteries also...

Photovoltaic System Sizing

This post will help you to determine how to size a photovoltaic (PV) system. By calculating the power, current, and voltage output required, the size and the number of photovoltaic panels can be estimated. Also, the voltage and current requirements will determine how the solar panels in...

Introduction to Fuel Cell Testing

Those who wish to learn more about fuel cells, and even to build their own, may also want to learn how to test those fuel cells. In this post, we will review some basic terms, and introduce low-cost testing equipment and more sophisticated testing setups. First, however, an understanding of the fuel cell and electrical basics will...

Components of a Photovoltaic System

Photovoltaic (PV) panels are comprised of individual cells known as solar cells. Each solar cell generates a small amount of electricity. When you connect many solar cells together, a solar panel is created that creates a substantial amount of electricity. PV systems vary in...

Introduction to Solar: Part 2

When a PV cell is exposed to sunlight, the photons of the absorbed sunlight dislodge the electrons from the atoms of the cell. The free electrons then move through the cell, creating and filling in holes. It is this movement of electrons and holes that generate electricity. The process of converting...

Introduction to Solar: Part 1

Most of us are familiar with solar cells because we encounter them every day – in calculators, street lamps, and traffic road signs. If these devices have enough light, they can theoretically work forever. Solar or photovoltaic (PV) cells are made up of many individuals cell stacked together. The cell material is a...

Energy Harnessed from the Wind: Part 2

Wind power generates electricity by transferring energy from wind to mechanical energy. The principle behind wind turbines is very simple: the energy in the wind turns two or three blades around a rotor. The rotor is connected to the shaft, which spins a generator to create electricity. Wind turbines are mounted on...

Energy Harnessed from the Wind: Part I

Imagine that something that you cannot see can have enough movement to harness energy! From a scientific perspective, air is like any other fluid -- if it can be moved forcefully, the motion provides kinetic energy. In a wind-electric turbine, the turbine blades capture the kinetic energy of the...

Fuel Cell Primer

Fuel cells produce electricity from reactants such as oxygen and hydrogen -- although other fuels besides hydrogen can be used. The electrochemical reaction produces water and heat as byproducts. Fuel cells are much more efficient than the internal combustion engine because they provide more...

Renewable Energy Systems in the Future: Part 2

Electricity for residential and business use can be produced using a combination of wind, solar, and hydrogen fuel cells. There also needs to be cooperation between corporations, utility companies, and individuals to successfully transition to a renewable energy economy. Corporations will have to manufacture...

Renewable Energy Systems in the Future: Part 1

Despite the recent negative publicity surrounding fossil fuels, crude oil, and natural gas have been beneficial for the growth of the modern world. It has allowed us to have life after dark, transport goods all over the world, and enabled technology to advance. However, the use of fossil fuels has also resulted in...

Transport of Electrons through the Fuel Cell

If you look at any basic fuel cell diagram, you can see that the fuel cell generates electrons. In the scientific or engineering circles, these electrons have many names, but a common term is “charge transport.” Charge transport is the movement of charges from the electrode (where they are produced) to the...

Introduction to Electrolyzers

Electrolyzers use electricity to break water into hydrogen and oxygen. The electrolysis of water occurs through an electrochemical reaction that does not require external components or moving parts. It is very reliable and can produce ultra-pure hydrogen (> 99.999%) in a non-polluting manner when...